By Stefania Rudd and Brandy Dykhuizen. Our Week In Review collects our thoughts on the comics that demand attention. Do you have a deep-rooted desire to know what we think about all your favorite books? Well. This is where you need to be.
Dept. H #2
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Story and Art by Matt Kindt.
Colors by Sharlene Kindt.
Letters by Marie Enger.
BD: Mia is stuck between many monsters of the deep – her father’s death confronts her at every turn, her perilous relationship with her brother resurfaces at the expense of the crew’s harmony, and the burdens born of her perfect memory keep popping up and demanding attention. The ability to approach every problem as a solvable formula may make a great scientist, but it doesn’t always bode well when it comes to tackling interpersonal relationships. As her crew pointed out to her during a heated argument, “If [you] don’t pull in the same direction, then [you’ll] just pull apart.”
Once again, Dept. H is a stunner of a book. It’s delicate, detailed watercolors leave you breathless. Portraying Mia’s flashbacks to the space mission in muted blues separates the timelines while subtle artistic elements help to link past missions with the current adventures. Placing Raj and Mia a space ship that closely resembles a jellyfish early on, then showing the two drifting deep into the abyss amongst real jellies is a seamless, gorgeous way to express how closely the siblings’ lives are intertwined over time, whether they like it or not.
Mia grapples with feelings of powerlessness and insignificance, which she uses as fuel to propel her through the seemingly futile task of finding her father’s killer and seeking justice. While most people would crumble under the pressures of decades of family history (and countless tons of water), Mia methodically and heroically sets her sights on the answers, giving pause to neither fleeting distractions nor colossal obstacles. Not only will Mia succeed in her mission, she would happily die trying.
9 out of 10
Written by Chip Zdarsky.
Art by Erica Henderson.
SR: Jughead #6 picks up with Jughead in a non-hamburger dream (odd as that may seem), abruptly awoken when it all, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a nightmare. Foreshadowing things to come? There’s one thing we know for sure: even though Jughead tries to not care anymore, Riverdale is still his school, and Principal Stanger has got to go. In the end, with the help of the unlikeliest of allies (Hint: Someone with the last name “Lodge”), Principal Stanger’s manipulative plan is revealed and his devious plot — turning students into military spy recruits — is thwarted. For now, Jughead and his pals are safe.
As always, Zdarsky infuses his trademark wit and humor into the dialogue. (I especially love the “editor’s notes,” like how Dilton being an amazing dancer is now canon times infinity, and that this month’s fracas was the craziest thing to ever happen to Riverdale… until next time, at least.) Through Zdarsky, Jughead can be so very deadpan in his sarcasm, magnified by Erica Henderson’ angular features and expressive faces. Whatever the writer throws Henderson’s way — be it Dilton’s dancing, to the fight between Jughead and Moose, to the 6 panels that gave us Principal Stanger’s slow clap — she handles it all beautifully. Another solid book from the Jughead crew. I look forward to the next arc, which hints at summer vacation. Perfect. Just in time for us to include it in all our beach reads.
8 out of 10
Black Eyed Kids #2
Written by Joe Pruett.
Art by Szymon Kudranski; colors by Guy Major.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
BD: All the spectral eeriness of Black Eyed Kids’ debut returns for issue #2, creeping along through inexplicable family tragedy, sulking around parking garages and working its way into the opaque irises of neighbors. The suspense continues to build in the primary plot, concerning wayward son Michael and his largely silent group of accomplices who encourage his murderous endeavors. Extreme close-ups and panels cropped to show segmented and desperate bits of action contribute to the terrifying tension as Michael’s father slowly begins to realize what sort of monster his son has become.
While Jim and Lara make their escape and try to put the pieces together surrounding the deaths in their family, a B-list author’s empathy gets the best of her, and she is overpowered by a pair of urchins she offers to feed. At this point, the plot veers a bit south, as a monologue from the Black Eyed Kids’ leader serves not only to explain the motives of his species, but also to poke enough holes in the book’s finely-tuned suspense that it falls crashing and deflated into a pile of world domination clichés.
Having the fate of humanity spelled out for us, and learning that humans are merely the cattle another species requires for servitude, work and sustenance lurches the reader out of the luridly entertaining fever dream Black Eyed Kids worked so hard to create. While the book will no doubt continue to be spooky and surely we can always count on gorgeously dark and chilling art, the overall spell has been broken via a clumsy bout of TMI. Hopefully this is not a stylistic harbinger of things to come. Hopefully BEK will return to beguile us with its subtler, creepier charms.
6 out of 10
From earlier this week —
Agree? Disagree? What books are YOU reading this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.